Rating: PG-13 (language)
Disclaimer: Supernatural is not mine, the same goes for Dark Angel
Summary: Somewhere along the way, Alec stops dreaming about fire and starts dreaming about Dean. [Alec-centric]
Series: Part of the What Comes Around Verse. Sequel to What You See
Note: Thanks to astrothsknotand scornedsaint for suffering my first draft.
What you Dream About
“Do you dream of fire?”
The question haunts Alec’s every waking moment, Sam’s voice echoing in the catacombs of his mind. It feels like the question was posed a million years ago, in another place, to another Alec, because he’s definitely not the person he was two weeks ago when Sam Winchester rolled into Seattle.
“Do you dream of fire?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Alec knows now, should have known back when he was asked. It would have saved him a hell of a lot of trouble.
“Do you dream of fire?”
The answer, of course, is yes.
Alec dreams of fire. He dreams of a woman (blonde) on the ceiling and drops of blood on his forehead. He wakes up thinking she’ll still be there, plastered above him, face forever frozen in a silent scream.
Sam’s there when he wakes up, his huge frame looming over Alec’s bed.
Sam’s the brother of his unwilling DNA donor: Alec doesn’t feel a whole lot of love. The guy was trying though; Alec has to give him credit for that. It’s more than Max ever did.
Sam calls him by his brother’s name, goes up to the various strangers they run across and introduces him as Dean.
And honestly, Alec’s got enough on his plate without adding an identity crisis to the mix.
“Where are we going?”
“Job was a bust. At this point we’re just going.”
The music is too loud. With his enhanced hearing, Alec just isn’t equipped for Sam’s heavy metal and hard rock.
“But where are we going?”
“Does it really matter?”
“You know,” Alec says quietly, “I always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.”
Sam nearly drives into a tree.
Alec dreams of Ben. Dreams of Ben’s murders, one after the other and at the end of it all, he feels like he has blood on his hands. He knows he shouldn’t be thinking of this, he knows what Ben did can’t be his fault (even if he did get arrested for it), but he has to wonder how much of the madness is genetic and how much is upbringing.
And sometimes he has to wonder if it even matters because in terms of both, Alec and Ben are the same.
He wonders what Dean was like. If in the end, Alec is doomed to become one of his genetic doubles. Dean or Ben; one is Sam’s brother and the other Max’s.
Alec doesn’t want to be either.
Sam calls him Dean and by this point, Alec would practically prefer being 494.
A month into the trip and Alec knows the words to every single Metallica song and most of AC/DC, but what he knows about Sam Winchester can be counted on one hand:
He knows Sam’s music drives him insane.
He knows Sam’s not bad with a pool cue.
He knows he looks like the identical twin of Sam’s brother, Dean.
He knows Sam hunts demons for a living.
He knows Sam has run past the demon that killed Asha more than once.
What he doesn’t know is why he’s sitting in this car with this guy with his whole life in flames back in Seattle.
Alec dreams of fire. Not always Asha’s fire but sometimes the one that destroyed Manticore, sending countless transgenics out into the real world.
Born in a fire, and as far as Alec’s concerned, he good as died in one too.
And to think, Max used to call him an optimist.
He actually used to be an optimist.
He wishes he could blame Sam, wishes he could pour out all of his rage and frustrations into the older man and just scream until his ear drums bleed.
Instead he bottles everything inside and lets it simmer and seethe. In the long run he thinks this way is worse for everyone. It’s certainly got Sam worried.
Sam’s watching him constantly, out of the corner of his eye when he doesn’t think Alec is paying attention.
Alec doesn’t even have to pay attention. Sam is just that damn obvious.
But it’s not Sam’s fault. Alec’s looks just like Sam's dearly departed big brother. He'd probably stare too if he wasn't so used to the idea of clones.
Hell, Alec probably should have just stayed in Seattle. After all Terminal City is as close to home as he’s gotten since Manticore burned to the ground.
Thoughts of the fire make him think of Asha.
He can’t get away fast enough.
When Alec sleeps, he dreams and at this point, Plan B is not to sleep.
And really, all that shit about needing sleep to function may turn out to be right after all because after three days, Alec’s moving slower than Sam.
Winchester. Alec Winchester
Sam marvels over the quality of the fake ID. “This is as good as Dean’s old ones. I never had the flair for this sort of thing.”
It’s the highest praise Sam ever gives.
Alec accepts the ID and slips it into his wallet without pausing to look at it. It’s an alias, just like all of the others. He’s had dozens before, disposable identities for missions, covers, Simon, Kyle, Saul… even Alec could be changed if needed. He’s never gotten attached.
Sam claps a heavy hand on his shoulder. “Welcome to the family, kid.”
Alec feels a smile steal across his face.
Somewhere along the way, Alec stops dreaming about fire and starts dreaming about Dean which in itself is enough to make Alec think he’s really back in psy-ops because nothing this weird ever happens in real life.
“Just you wait,” Dean says as if reading his mind. “You have no idea what kind of weird shit Sammy attracts.”
In his sleep, Alec rolls onto his back, and keeps on dreaming.
This is a Streaming Freedom video bulletin. This cable hack will last exactly sixty seconds, it cannot be traced, cannot be stopped…
The familiar eyes are watching Alec from the television. Nothing about transgenics, nothing about Ames White, just the standard corrupt politician conning the public out of their hard earned cash. Normal. Everything back to normal.
Except for the way Sam’s ears twitch when he hears the voice and how he turns to look over his shoulder like he thinks someone’s talking to him.
“What Sam?” Alec asks, “This the first time you’ve heard Eyes Only?”
“I’ve heard the voice before,” Sam says, frowning. “I just thought he was Seattle-based.”
“Must be a rebroadcast. Guy bumps up the ratings.” Alec snickers. “I’ll bet he loves that.”
There’s a little pang in Alec’s chest, something different from Asha’s constant ache.
And he realizes that he misses Logan, misses Max, misses Seattle, Terminal City and Jam Pony.
“How you doing, kid?” Sam says, peering over his newspaper.
“I’m always all right,” Alec answers automatically.
“You ready to get moving?”
Some sort of demon has been draining people of bodily fluids. Sam seems weirdly excited about the whole thing, fascinated by the very concept. Alec thinks Sam may be the only person alive more warped than he is.
Duck, Dean whispers into Alec’s ear and less than a second later, a knife impales itself in his shoulder blade. Alec grits his teeth in pain.
Dude, I told you to duck.
Sam’s shouting something Alec can’t hear, Alec’s face down in the mud, bleeding and there’s a tiny wisp of movement by the lake that looks like a man standing there with his arms folded.
You let that thing choke my brother and I will make your life a living hell, Dean’s voice says (only it’s Alec’s voice, the same tone, same timber, the only difference is the speech patterns and even that’s almost negligible).
With a grunt, Alec grabs the hilt of the dagger and wrenches the blade free. His head is spinning. Sam’s losing the fight, the thing on top of him, hands pressed on either side of its face. Alec might be imagining it, but he can see the moisture seeping out of Sam’s skin, can see his lips chapping, his face cracking.
The demon looks like Dix, like something Manticore could have cooked up in their genetic stew and the thought freezes Alec for a moment.
“Alec!” Sam screams.
Alec forces himself into action.
That’s the idea, Dean says, voice indistinct in the light breeze.
When Alec falls asleep, Dean is still there, sitting across from him, leaning back on his hands. Alec looks at him, not amused. “Does Sam know you’re hanging around?”
Dean stares through him. “For a psychic, Sammy misses a lot of things.” A beat. “Not quite like you.”
“I’m not going to have to break out one of Sam’s exorcism rituals, am I?”
Dean doesn’t answer.
Staring at him is like looking into a mirror, not a perfect replica, but close enough to fool most people.
“Why are you here?”
Dean tilts his head sideways like the answer should be obvious. “Because Sammy’s here.”
That morning, struck by sudden impulse, Alec dumps half a bottle of Tabasco sauce into Sam’s coffee and the laughter echoing through the empty diner doesn’t quite sound like his own.
When Alec closes his eyes there’s a lady plastered over his head, face opened in a silent, endless scream and Alec tries not to watch, but he can’t close his eyes.
And as he stares at the burning woman, he realizes with a start that she’s not Asha. The hair color’s off by a couple shades, the lips are too thin and he’s almost sure the slash on Asha’s stomach ran in a completely different direction.
The woman’s mouth moves soundlessly, but he can see the unspoken words. “Help! Help! Help!”
Alec tries to reach towards her, but he can’t feel his arms moving. There’s a man across from him, dark-haired, slender, the same body type as Ames White. He seems to be made entirely out of shadows.
The shadow smiles at him. It has yellow eyes.
Something grabs his shoulder. Alec lashes out blindly.
“For God’s sake, Alec, it’s me. It’s Sam!”
The demon’s smile widens and the inferno blazes hotter.
“Wake up, Alec!”
Images flash rapid-fire in front of his eyes.
A stopped clock, a flickering light, blonde hair, a women, a house (numbers… he can’t quite see the numbers), a road sign, a baby screaming, the steady drip, drip, drip of blood on his forehead…
His eyes snap open.
He’s in a motel room. Sam’s sporting what looks like the start of nasty shiner.
“Jesus, Alec,” Sam says, “What the fuck was that?”
The light from the lamp on the bedside table is making Alec’s head throb. “Just a dream,” Alec whispers.
“That wasn’t any old dream,” Sam says and he hesitates for so long, Alec is suddenly embarrassed.
Do you dream of fire?
“Oh,” says Sam quietly. “Shit.”
Alec looks up to meet his eyes. Sam sighs heavily. “Did you see where it was going to happen?”
“Idaho,” Alec replies.
He’s never been to fucking Idaho.
“Do you know when?”
When they get there, the fire’s a day old, the lady’s burned and whatever the hell did it is gone. Sam wants to stay and investigate. Alec wants to get away.
So he does. He goes to a bar, buys himself a beer, hustles some pool and hits on everything that moves.
And it feels good, almost like slipping back into his skin.
But it’s an act.
“How long you in town?”
She doesn’t look a bit like Asha and he thinks that’s why he likes her. She’s got short-cropped reddish hair, blue-green eyes and a smattering of freckles. “Passing through,” Alec answers, “me and my brother, Sam. But now, I’ve got time.”
He doesn’t quite like how my brother Sam flows off his tongue. He feels like he’s trying to be someone he’s not. He frowns into his scotch. She edges closer.
He looks up and gives her a full blown smile.
And behind him, a voice says, “Get your filthy transgenic hands off my girl.”
Alec turns and gives him a slow, easy smile. “You must be doing something wrong if she’d take a half-human freak over your sorry ass.”
“You’ve got a hell of a lot of nerve,” the guys says and cracks his knuckles.
Alec wonders just what this guy actually knows about transgenics because, yeah the guy may be as tall as Sam, only build like a rock pile, but transgenics are built to do some serious damage.
“Ah,” Alec replies, mouth on autopilot, “but I’ve also got half a brain, which is more than I can say for you.”
Alec takes the first punch like a pro, and then he takes the second one because he deserves a good beating. The guy hits like a freight train and the blood leaking from Alec’s nose tastes like redemption.
“That all you got?” Alec asks, smirking.
Alec loves a good brawl.
Later than night when he walks back in to the motel room with torn clothes and a face caked with blood that's not all his. Sam doesn’t bother to hide his stares.
“You find anything?” Alec asks.
Sam shakes his head and blinks twice. “Not much. The thing’s long gone.”
Alec thinks of the guys in the bar, the tangle of fists. “We might want to skip town. Other demons to fry right?”
Sam nods knowingly.
They get separated in South Dakota, Sam off checking out a haunted house while Alec tracks down leads at the public library. Only when Alec goes back to the motel to meet up with Sam he never shows. After a couple of hours he starts to panic, loads up with salt guns and silver bullets and goes to find out what went wrong.
At the house he finds webs of caution tape and a sticky trail of blood.
Alec will never admit it, but he blows a gasket at that, spends two hours combing the place for clues and spends the next four on the phone with various hospitals and morgues.
There’s no one matching Sam’s description and almost against his will, Alec starts cataloging all the people in Seattle who had disappeared without a trace.
He probably got arrested, Dean says and at this point, Alec isn’t the least bit surprised to get help from a dead guy. Sammy normally covers his own back better than that, but hey shit happens.
Sam’s in a holding cell when Alec finds him, pacing endlessly in the small room. Alec braces his feet on either side of the barred window and pulls. The bars slip free with surprisingly little effort. “Shoddy workmanship,” Alec grunts and Sam glances up and smiles.
“You coming or not?” Alec asks. “The guy up front was on the phone with the FBI. He’ll be coming back to check that you’re secure any minutes. Apparently Sammy Winchester is quite a catch.”
Sam goes chalk white. “The FBI? I thought I slipped off the radar after the Pulse.”
“Well, guess you’re back on the map. If I was you I’d stop wasting time and get yourself out of here.” Alec leans down and offers Sam a hand. “Come on, Sammy, I’m not the one on the FBI’s most wanted list.”
Sam stares vacantly into Alec’s eyes. “Actually,” he says as he grasps Alec’s hands, “you’re probably higher than I am.”
Alec doesn’t know why he didn’t guess before.
Alec dreams about Asha’s smile, the nights they spent shooting the breeze at Crash and the ones they spent huddled together in the basements of grungy buildings on missions for Eyes Only or the S1W.
In these dreams, she’s not on fire, not on the ceiling, but when he wakes up, all he can smell is smoke.
“We were on the outs, you know,” Alec says between lulls in the music. “Me and Asha, I mean.”
Sam glances sideways. “Yeah?”
“It’d happen once every few weeks. I’d say something stupid, she’d blow up at me and we’d split up for a few days while we cooled off. Logan, the poor guy, got the worst of it. From what I heard, both of us tended to bitch about the other to him. Max thought it was hilarious, she’d set up a pool about how long it would be before we hooked up again every time we hit a rough patch.”
Sam looks at him again before turning his attention back to the road. His jaw works like he wants to say something, but the worlds never come.
“We’d got back together the night before.” Alec doesn’t quite understand why he’s telling Sam this, but every word is a little bit of weight off of his chest. “If I’m not mistaken that cost Max fifty bucks. I wasn’t expecting… I mean, things had just got back to normal…”
“I’m sorry, man,” Sam says gruffly. And when the silence becomes almost unbearable, he adds, “I was going to propose the day it happened to Jess. Had the ring and everything. I just…” He stops short, shakes his floppy mass of dark hair. “Sorry. It’s just, well Dean always had this thing about chick flick moments.”
Alec remembers sitting at the end of the bar, shot glass clutched in his hands, remembers a hand on Max’s shoulder as she cried about Ben.
“One of my best friends is a chick,” Alec says hesitantly. “And the other one’s a dog-man.”
Someone starts laughing. Alec knows it's not him or Sam.
Alec opens his eyes, but the world remains a hazy blur. Anything more than a foot in front of his face is soft and out of focus. Alec blinks twice but his vision doesn’t clear. He doesn’t like this feeling. It’s dark, but there’s a warm spot next to him where someone else must have laid only moments before.
And then there’s a drip. Once, twice on his forehead. Alec turns onto his side and gropes for his glasses. (Alec doesn’t wear glasses…)
But it’s more than that; the layout of the room is oddly foreign, his fingers are just a shade too long, and there’s a foreign ache in his lower back.
He shoves the glasses onto his face and the blurry form of the ceiling suddenly is in razor sharp focus. Dark hair splayed out around her head, a jagged slice crossing her midsection.
“Max,” he breathes, only it’s not his voice, but Logan’s, low, raw and panicked. “Max!”
There’s a sudden explosion of heat.
Alec opens his eyes.
He is in a gaudy motel room. By his bedside lies John Winchester’s battered journal and a lamp that’s seen better days. The entire scene is crystal clear despite his lack of glasses. There is no one on the ceiling.
Sam is staring at him. Alec licks his parched lips, unsure if the voice he uses will even be his own.
“We’ve got to go back to Seattle,” Alec chokes. He can still smell the smoke, can feel the heat burning his skin. The woman on the ceiling—Max, Asha, the lady from Boise—it doesn’t matter in the end. All that matters now is stopping it.
“I’ll start the car,” Sam says. “You pack up. If we haul ass, we can be there in less than twenty four hours.”
Alec doesn’t need to be told twice.
In a dirty, gas station restroom, Alec splashes cold water on his face and wonders what the hell happened to his life. There’s a jagged cut running down his left cheek that’s too fresh to fade, a pair of dark circles around his eyes that proves he was one of the unfortunate x-5s without shark DNA and the sickly white pallor of someone who hasn’t seen the sun in a good long time.
He smiles at the reflection in the grimy bathroom mirror and it smiles back.
But the fact that it looks real and genuine and takes Alec by surprise. Because despite everything that’s happened to him, the horrors and the dreams and the fires, there’s a guy outside who is just short of a brother, sitting in a dirty black impala that’s just short of home.
Halfway through Idaho, Sam’s cell phone rings and without thinking, Alec reaches down to pick it up. “Talk to me.”
“Sam?” Logan’s voice comes back over the shaky cell phone connection.
“Alec?” Logan repeats.
“Logan,” Alec answers.
He can hear Logan’s breathing on the end of the line. “How you been?”
Alec recognizes something new in his voice hidden beneath the tired frantic edge. Logan for the first time since Alec had met him sounded genuinely happy. “The virus is gone, isn’t it?”
There’s a long moment of silence before Logan says, “Yeah, how did you know?”
Alec shakes his head. “Doesn’t matter does it? I’m guessing this isn’t a social call.”
“No,” Logan says, “it’s not. I was wondering if Sam’s ever heard something about a Coming.”
“You’re kidding right? White and his cronies still going on about the Coming? I thought it was just some satanic cult thing.”
“And unless I was mistaken, satanic cult things fall very much into Sam’s specialties.”
Alec turns to Sam. “The Coming ring any bells?”
“Capital C?” Sam asks vaguely. “Sounds apocalyptic.”
“He’s not sure,” Alec says into the phone, unwilling to mention the word apocalypse to Logan who has the world on his shoulders as it is.
There’s silence from the other end that stretches so long, Alec’s sure the connection’s been cut. But it’s not that, not really. It’s that after six months on the road, Alec’s all but lost means of communicating with his old life. The thought stings more than it should have.
“It’s not the same without you here,” Logan says finally. “You’re a pain in the ass, but at least you kept it interesting.”
He wants to says be careful, watch your back, it’s coming for Max just like it came for Asha, but the warning dies on his lips and what he says is: “Didn’t know you cared.”
Logan laughs, and it’s genuine and it's real and Alec can’t bring himself to tear Logan down.
“Take care of yourself, Alec,” Logan says. “I hear demon hunting’s a rough gig.”
“Say the guy who personally tops at least ten hit lists,” Alec grumbles in reply. He doesn’t mention his dream. Doesn’t mention waking up in Logan’s shoes only to watch Max burn. They deserve that little slice of happiness, no matter how fleeting it may be.
Besides, Sam said it himself. The only way to stop this thing is getting there first.
“We’ll let you know when we find something.” Alec tells Logan, his voice stronger than he feels. “Promise.”
Only, you know not really. There's going to be one more story in the series, probably in Sam's POV where Sam and Alec head back to Seattle and face The Demon and you know, plot happens. The file is actually open on my computer right now. The way it's going, it's probably going to be a long one. So, until then...